Countryside Living: The Pleasures and The Pitfalls
In our second feature exploring the Great Move to the Irish Countryside, we look at the joys of getting away from it all, but also explore some of the unexpected matters that may irk you. Alongside all that lovely clean air, extra space, greater freedoms for the kids, and gorgeous walks right on your doorstep, what about the downsides?
We spoke to some people who have recently made the move, and from our survey, the top five on the plus side are:
- Quality of Life. There’s more space, more freedom for the kids, and beautiful scenery right on your doorstep.
- Friendliness. Cities can be anonymous places, and many of our movers discovered a wider and more welcoming community than they had imagined.
- Amenities (1). Ireland’s rural cultural networks were another surprise – from art classes to cine clubs, music networks to drama groups.
- Amenities (2). Tennis clubs without a waiting list? Tick. Golf clubs in gorgeous locations? Likewise. Plus hill walking, horse riding, sailing and swimming, GAA and more… Our movers found they were spoiled for choice.
- More bang for your buck. To put it bluntly, you get more house for your money as soon as you leave the city behind. That means lots of spare room, which you’re definitely going to need (see below).
Originally from Paris, Julien Zotoff moved to County Limerick after spending more than a decade in Manchester. Working with Sherry FitzGerald Stack at Abbeyfeale to find his dream home, he says that the slower pace of life, and the beautiful environment are huge plusses. “It’s peaceful, and yet there are people around. It’s actually much friendlier than in cities.” He is aware however of the greater distance to the shops, and a smaller selection of shops and restaurants in the vicinity. It would be hard to compete with Paris for sure… And one unexpected downside? Mud! All those country walks make a boot room a must.
But what about the negatives? It surely isn’t all sunshine and roses… Here’s what our movers had to say:
- Traffic jams, but not as you know them. Gemma, who made the move to West Cork, said she sometimes gets frustrated driving slowly behind tractors, or waiting for cows to cross the road. But then she reminds herself how she’d have once spent longer waiting at the lights on the Stillorgan Dual Carriageway…
- Drains. Getting to know a septic tank isn’t the most romantic part of rural living for sure. Luckily newer, and more eco options are out there.
- Slowing down. This might sound like a good thing, but some of our movers who were still on “city speed” found waiting in the post office while everyone had a lovely chat just a tad frustrating!
- Phone coverage and broadband. While the rural broadband programme is rolling out, and in some spots satellite is a great option, old houses have thick walls, and mountains can really get in the way. Bring your mobile phone to view your dream home too and count the bars.
- Missing friends. Heading to a new area can be a wrench. The advantage of the extra space you’ve found in the country (see above) is a lovely spare room for all your friends to visit.
Pamela and Kevin McDonald experienced exactly that when they moved from Dublin to Gorey, thanks to Sherry FitzGerald O’Leary Kinsella. “We are very happy we made the move,” says Pamela. “We love our new house and neighbours, and the pace of life here is SO relaxing. Gorey has so much to offer, we are looking forward to frequenting the many restaurants, shops and boutiques in the town.” The couple are missing family and friends in Dublin, but are looking forward to their visits soon.
One thing that came strongly through our research was that any move includes a process of adjustment. Whether you’re going to a city and getting used to the noise and queues and crowds, or going in the opposite direction to find wide open spaces, it’s always worth remembering that things take time. So the plumber says he may come on Tuesday and he’s sure to see you right? The farmer has a habit of parking the tractor in the middle of the lane for a chat with the cows? The dog has to be on a lead around sheep? These are all parts of rural life, and with a small change of mindset, they may even start to feel like part of its charms.
Find your local Sherry FitzGerald office here.